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E-WASTE MANAGEMENT A challenging mission

E-WASTE MANAGEMENT A challenging mission

 Extended Producers’ Responsibility; EPR, E-Waste Management; Electronic Waste Business Opportunities

By Bhavesh Jha

India is one of the biggest Electronic waste generators… more than 98% of the E-Waste in India goes to the informal sector for recycling.

Government of India has come up with E Waste rule 2016 for fixing up the responsibilities to regulate the industry and associated sectors through Extended Producer’s Responsibility (EPR).

Bhavesh Jha, CEO of Root Logix, explains Extended Producer’s Responsibility( EPR ) and electronic waste managemnet ( E-Waste) and various other issues in  waste management sector

Indian economy produces a huge amount of electronic waste (e-waste) every year, close to 1.8 million tonnes per annum. The responsible management of the e-waste has become a great concern. Although the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC), has come up with a rules and regulations, ( E-Waste 2016) for fix up the responsibilities in order to better regulate and manage the electronic industry and associated sectors through Extended Producer’s Responsibility (EPR), there is a lack of awareness and effective implementation. A large chunk of e-waste is pumped into the hands of informal centers for recycling, causing concerns. It has , environmental and health hazards.

The contamination of natural resources is making it more dangerous. The E-waste rule 2016 aims at building an efficient recycling system. Under these rules, government has introduced EPR making producers liable to collect 30- 70% (over seven years) of their waste production back. The producers have to take EPR authorisation mandatorily from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the apex pollution regulator in India.

E- Waste Management: Informal Way

About 1.7 million tonnes of E-waste generated in India alone in 2016, which makes India among the top three generators in Asia. It has the highest e-waste generation in absolute quantities after China and Japan. However, only 1.5% of the total e-waste generated is recycled by the formal sector i.e. by formal recyclers through a set institutional process, according to a study by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham). The study further says that Indian e-waste generation from old mobile and computers will increase by 1800% and 500% respectively from the year 2007 level. Thus more than 98% of e-waste goes for processing and recycling to the Informal sector.

As per The Global E Waste Monitor 2017, India is one of the biggest Ewaste generator economies. E waste directly or indirectly affects the social, environmental and economical aspects of the habitat.

The newly laid guidelines and rule for Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) for fixing up the responsibility to manage the waste through take back system for efficient recycling process. Many European Countries have already implemented the same. However, there is a lack awareness and a need to sensitize consumers.Often consumers due to lack of awareness sell their unused or obsolete electronic items to the nearby informal waste workers, which goes to informal sector and processed with primitive technology.

98% of E-Waste goes to informal sector for recycling. There are a number of issues involved in this. Recylcing entrusted to the informal sector, often using primitive methods and techniques has got implications on natural environment, as E Waste contains various toxic materials viz. lead, mercury, cadmium and other such polluting substances.

In the informal process of electronic waste recycling activities, this could lead to damage of almost all the body parts and the systems. Due to lack of awareness and required safeguards, the workers in the informal recycling sector suffer from various ailments.

When tubelights, motherboards and toner cartridges reburnt in open flames could cause spewing mercury, cadmium and others into the natural system, which could create air pollution, just for instance. The necessary enforcement and regulatory measures can play an important role in setting standards .

The Central Pollution Control Board ( CPCB) has recently issued notices to the electrical and electronics manufactures to meet the provisions under the E Waste ( Management) Rules 2016. As per the notification, the producers are required to meet their recovery targets, these producers need to obtain authorisation from the concerned department. The Extended Producers Responsibility ( EPR) authorisation has become mandatory for the producers for their recovery management system and is an important step towards safe handling E Waste and its management.

All the manufacturers or brand owners are required to take the authorisation in process of compliance of the e-waste audit norms of CPCB. The CPCB has also served notices to many of the manufacturers or brand owners who have not taken the authorisation yet as per the EWaste Handling & Management Rules 2016.

Central Pollution Control Board has notified with its new amendment notification about the Electronic Waste Collection targets. The notification asks for e-waste collection target during the first two years of implementation of rules should be 30%, during third –forth 40%, during fifth-sixth 50%, during seventh and onwards 70%.

Bhavesh Jha is an expert on sustainability management and development. He has an MBA from TERI University, New Delhi. He is CEO , Root Logix. 

Root Logix LLP is a responsible strategic management consulting company working for a green and clean future. With an objective to promote green growth and sustainable development, we aim to create viable. framework and solutions for maintaining the equitable development. It basic objective is to add value based practices to nurture the sustainable performance of an organisation with a responsible disclosure of environment and social impacts. With a focus to maintain and nurture sustainable performance with responsible disclosure of environment and social impacts, we wish to facilitate the organisations in achieving the economic goals.   For more information, please visit www.root-logix.com

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